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  • Carolina Hrejsa

A Hot AMI Annual Meeting - Henderson, NV

The heat didn’t get us down; instead, it kept us indoors, socializing and networking. The dry desert air worked its magic, drawing like-minded individuals into the comfort of air-conditioned spaces. I always look forward to the annual AMI meeting, and this year offered some fantastic highlights.

This year, I presented at the Tech Showcase: "Action Scripting in Action! Transforming Your Photoshop and Illustrator Workflow." I use actions daily, and my favorite moments are when I can write JavaScript to customize complex workflows—a true Photoshop victory! Attendees of my session were genuinely impressed, with audible oohs and aahs, and a few fans even approached me afterward to discuss the details. Unfortunately, the stickers I ordered, "Record Play Repeat," didn’t arrive in time. Now, I’m stuck with a bunch of stickers that make NO SENSE unless you’re a geeky action scripting nerd. So, if you see me at next year’s conference, please ask for a sticker!

The highlight of my trip was "Putting the Obscure and Fascinating Stories of Science Under a Spotlight," a moderated conversation with Mary Roach. As a huge fan, I’ve read four of her books and own two. "Stiff," her book about human cadavers, is one of my top ten favorite books of all time. (Only a medical illustrator would have a cadaver book on their top ten list!) I made sure to get front-row seats for her conversation and stood in line for her book signing afterward. I even brought along some scientific stickers featuring my illustrations, hoping she would appreciate them.

Another memorable moment was Andrew Cawrse’s anatomy demonstration titled "The Modern Anatomist & its Benefits". Andrew, the owner of Anatomy Tools, is a sculptor, fine artist, and former visual effects artist. His presentation showcased certain measurements and relationships on a cirque performer. Cirque performers, being in peak physical condition, allow you to visualize every muscle, even the elusive ones, and their flexibility is beyond human. Andrew simplified body parts into their primitive forms, focusing on each part’s three movements (bend, straighten, and twist). His use of the "magic measurement" was indeed magical. (Edited 4/1/24 - I loved it so much that I ended up taking Andrew Cawrse’s Anatomy Workshop eight months later in Las Vegas.)

This year’s AMI conference also hosted the inaugural "Dogshow," where the worst of the worst medical illustrations were on display. These were illustrations with errors, poor concept art, and pieces you just didn’t feel passionate about but had to complete for a client. It was incredibly fun, with many attendees dressed in black tie attire. I even submitted a piece under a pseudonym, of course. I’d never admit to creating a non-perfect piece of art, though many people guessed and came up to me, asking if they were correct.

The only downside to the conference is that there’s never enough time for quality one-on-one interactions with everyone. My network has grown so much that I want to catch up with everyone properly, only to be interrupted by the chime signaling the next speaker. You leave the week unrested, depleted of adrenaline, but inspired and ready to tackle new creative projects and follow up with new friends.



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